To the editor: Vermonters prove their kindness to couple in frightful accident

Photo by Adonyi Gábor

It was Dec. 26, 2022, the day after a wonderful Christmas in Vermont, surrounded by all of our beloved family.

We had flown back east to share a snowy holiday with our two sons, Luca and Nico, ages 6 and 7. This had become somewhat a tradition since they had learned to walk. It has always held beautiful memories in our hearts.

This year I planned a date with my husband to enjoy a nice and relaxing lunch up in Woodstock. I have always wanted to visit the Woodstock Inn during the winter, and I decided that I should finally check it off my bucket list. My mom took the boys to visit their cousins in Guilford for the day and my husband and I set off on our adventure.

As we were driving on Route 121, the sun was shining, and the air was crisp. Since we were visiting from California, we were still not acclimated to the chill and left our winter coats on while in the car. Just as we crossed the Windham/Londonderry border we headed down a hill that had remained in the shade due to a mountain blocking out the sun. Little did we realize that we hit ice because we started sliding right away.

Now having grown up in Guilford, I have many memories of hitting ice while driving. Usually, you would wait it out until you finally came to a stop and prayed that no cars were approaching. However, this time the car seemed to continue to pick up speed and started spinning faster and faster. Finally, the front of the car hit a ditch on the oncoming side of the road, flipped over and twisted. It all happened so fast.

I remember bits and pieces, like flashes of scenes from a movie. The last thing I recall is the front passenger airbag going off and hitting me in the side of the head. When I opened my eyes, I smelled smoke in the car and started panicking. I saw my husband lying motionless on his side as the car had landed upright with the driver’s side faced down in the snowbank.

I tried to open the passenger door of the car, but I kept slipping and it was too heavy. Then suddenly, appearing out of nowhere, the door opened, and a hand reached in helping me out. This was just the first kind person that had stopped and come to our aid. As my husband and I climbed out in a daze we went to sit on a snowbank, but another woman stopped her car and made sure we waited safely in a driveway across the road.

Now, standing in that driveway, hugging my husband, both of us shivering and a bit in shock, the procession of kindness began. Each and every driver stopped and made sure that we were OK and that there were no children or animals left in the car. We were so grateful our children were not in the car! Each and every driver asked if the paramedics and police had been called because there was no cell service in that spot. As we waited, we began to get colder, so we asked the next car that passed if they mind if we sat in their car for a minute to warm up while the ambulance arrived.

This would never have happened in Los Angeles, mind you. And we would have been terrified to get into a stranger’s car there anyway. However, the warmth and generosity of everyone that we encountered renewed our faith in humanity, at least in Vermont anyway. And that is the main focal point of this long-winded letter.

Although I grew up in Vermont and most of my family still live there, we had a rental car with Connecticut plates on. Now I know the stigma of being in Vermont as a tourist with out-of-state plates on so I would not have been surprised if people thought we didn’t know better driving in the wintry conditions of Vermont, but in that moment, no one showed any bias at all. The goodness of humanity came shining through. Just people helping people. And I promise you, there is nowhere else I would rather be in a car accident. If this same accident had occurred anywhere in Los Angeles, people would drive right past without blinking an eye.

The same warmth and kindness extended from Fire Department personnel who transferred us to his vehicle and then to the Londonderry Volunteer Rescue Squad and finally everyone who cared for us at Grace Cottage Hospital.

I want to say a special thank you to the nurse who got me a warm blanket and a cup of coffee. What could have had a much worse outcome made me see what potential humanity has when we come together to help each other. After everything that people have gone through during the pandemic that kept us all distanced from each other, it was nice to see how people came back together.

My husband and I want to extend our most heartfelt thank you and deepest gratitude to everyone who stopped that day. The selflessness of these kind people renewed my faith in what lies deep within all our hearts. And my fondness for Vermont and everyone who is fortunate enough to live there, only continues to grow.


Heather Maulucci Larian and Dr. Amir Larian
San Marino, Calif.

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